As I ran into Target to buy last minute Valentine’s Cards and gifts for the kids, husband, family and teachers I was unprepared for the heart moment that was coming my way.
God speaks to me at the most unexpected times and today was no different. He really knows how to get our attention if we’re watching and listening for it. Today, he spoke to me through the cries of a little child.
Heading to the candy aisle in the back of the store, I passed moms chatting to each other as they loaded last minute items into the cart. It was hustle and bustle back there, with all of us picking through boxed hearts filled with candy, stuffed animals, valentine’s cards, etc. You know the drill. In my mind I was ticking off the people I was buying for and trying to find suitable items in the short amount of time I had. I always manage to wait until the last minute!
The Cry of a Broken Heart
My thoughts and calculations came to a screeching halt as I heard a whaling toddler boy coming my way. He was with another lady who was clearly not his mama because he was making a bee-line for a young lady who most definitely was. His cries of “mama, mama” left no doubt in my mind. He was obviously in distress but she seemed very distracted and absentmindedly patted him as he danced up and down crying and lifting his arms up to pick him up.
For some reason this scene was distressing me. I tried to finish making my selections, aware of the clock ticking down to pick up my youngest child from school. As I continued, I heard the entire scene playing out: mamas talking and trying to figure out their purchases and the tired, sad cries of the little boy dragging himself around the store after his mama. She told her friend, “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I hope he’s not getting sick.” I couldn’t see them because I was on a different aisle, but I heard her say “stop it” in a frustrated voice. It went back and forth like this until at one point I heard her get frustrated because along the way he had grabbed a package and opened it.
I just could’t shake it. I wanted to ignore the whole thing and grab my items and just go because I was in a hurry, but my heart was being pierced by his cries. Thoughts like, “he’s tired. Pick him up. Comfort him” were hitting my mind and I was feeling deeply distressed, but I knew I couldn’t just walk over there and tell that mama how to handle her child. As I looked at her I knew I couldn’t. I’ve seen that look before, probably as I looked at myself in the mirror as a young, overwhelmed mother. I knew I just couldn’t be the person that made her feel like a failure as a mother.
So Many Broken Hearts
Feelings and thoughts started coming to me fast and intense as I was standing in that aisle. My heart ached for that little boy, so tired and just wanting to be held by his mama. As I was standing there and asking myself why she didn’t just pick him up and comfort him, I heard a quiet whisper in my soul…”it’s because she’s blind and deaf to his tears and heartache. It’s not because she doesn’t love him, but she’s numbed out due to her own pain and exhaustion. She’s just going through the motions right now.”
Making my way to check out, I was feeling pretty heartbroken for both of them and perhaps also for lost moments with my own children that I went through in heart numbed times of my life. Sleep deprivation, hopelessness and fear can do that to a person.
I know that I know nothing of this mom’s life and the circumstances she has endured before ever walking through the doors of Target. I don’t know her hurts and history, but I know my own. I know that we can consign our hearts to the oblivion of heart anesthesia if we’re hurt and let down enough times along the way in life. Without truly allowing Jesus to be Lord of our life we can be bound up and in total torment internally.
And in our heart numbed states we can seek any number of means of escape for the loneliness within our souls. We can zone out through social media and other forms of entertainment going further and further into heart numbness and spiritual blindness and deafness. Our hearts can be partially asleep a long time until God begins to awaken them.
The Father’s Heart
Clearly mine has been awakened, which I acknowledge with thankfulness and a bit of a jolt. It’s been feeling more and more lately. I suddenly realize that my recent prayers of “break my heart for what breaks yours, Lord,” have been answered because my heart feels pierced. I also realize that there is a fine line between pain and love…that you can love so much that it hurts. I have to catch my breath as it hits me just how deeply God loves us. He loves us so much that He came to us in the form of an innocent baby to experience all of the things that cause us to seek oblivion from the pain of living in this fallen world.
Heart Like Heaven
Jesus loves us with that kind of love. Whether we are the crying child or the mom so numbed by disappointment and pain that she can’t even fully feel her own pain or even the pain of her child, He loves us all. His heart breaks for us all. He loves us all so much that He died that we might be free from all of that pain and suffering. Our hearts do not have to be encased in prisons of stone. He understands our heartache and rejection far more than we give Him credit for. Jesus had to experience all the sins of mankind. Yes, he even experienced parental rejection. He bore our rejection and breathing his last breaths, he cried out to God in heaven, “Oh God, Oh God. Why hath thou forsaken me?”
A Thankful Heart
And as I get to my car and drive away to pick up my child from school, I thank God. “Thank you God that you answered my prayer and replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Please do this for every person I pray for whose hearts are shut down through the pain and disappointments of life. Thank you God for breaking my heart for what breaks yours, because this breaking is producing love, and I pray this love will spill over to the hurting and the lost. Yes, thank you God for love so strong it hurts.”
Jesus, thank you for taking all of our infirmities, sin and rejection upon you as you died for us on the cross. We cannot even comprehend all that you died for, but give us eyes to see and cherish the precious gift you gave us. Help us to never take it for granted. Lord Jesus, as we are surrendering every area of our lives to your lordship, thank you for giving us new hearts and giving us eyes to see the hurting and lost the way you see us. We, all like sheep have gone astray. Lead us and tend our wounds. You are our healer, yes even hardened and broken hearts are healed by you. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear the cries of the souls of the lost. Give us words to speak and the boldness to speak them, that we might reach a lost and hurting world.
Verses for Meditation
~ Ezekiel 36:26
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
~ Luke 4:17-21
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
~ Isaiah 57:11-21
11 “Whom have you so dreaded and feared
that you have not been true to me,
and have neither remembered me
nor taken this to heart?
Is it not because I have long been silent
that you do not fear me?
12 I will expose your righteousness and your works,
and they will not benefit you.
13 When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me
will inherit the land
and possess my holy mountain.”
Comfort for the Contrite
14 And it will be said:
“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 I will not accuse them forever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then they would faint away because of me—
the very people I have created.
17 I was enraged by their sinful greed;
I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
yet they kept on in their willful ways.
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
19 creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
~ Matthew 27:46
46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).